Research internship inspires new graduate

Monday 10 December 2018

Canberra-local Stephanie Kochinos will hit the ground running when she graduates with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) this week.

Having travelled abroad to complete a Humanitarian Engineering research project, her cross-cultural abilities will place her as a well-rounded engineering graduate, an important trait as she starts with global professional service company KPMG.

Stephanie shares that a major highlight of her time at ANU was the final year internship she completed with Canberra-based NGO Abundant Water.

This experience, funded by a DFAT New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship, saw Stephanie travel to the Laos, where she investigated water filtration improvements to support faster access to clean drinking water.

During the internship, she was able to draw upon her engineering skills and knowledge to look for a solution to meet community needs.

 “I was interested in working on a humanitarian engineering project where I could make a difference with research having real-world impact,” said Stephanie.

The internship involved hands-on work to understand how the filters are made so that the ideal flow rate is produced – and the challenge wasn’t as easy as it looked, she explained.  

“While there aren’t a great number of steps or materials involved in the manufacturing process, it is actually extremely difficult to make the filters. The workshop staff are such experts at it though, and in the time I had made one filter, they had made three or four!”

When it came to deciding on the focus for her final year project, Stephanie knew that improved water filtration outcomes would be her goal.

 “My research project has given Abundant Water an insight into this topic and it may mean that they can use these filters, which will reduce waste and help produce a greater number of viable filters.”

As Stephanie sets sail from ANU, she knows she will miss all the people she has encountered over the years.

“Not only did I form some incredible friendships, but I was really lucky to have amazing lecturers and tutors who were always there to help,” she said.

In her parting advice, Stephanie encourages ANU students to get involved and make the most out of all the opportunities available.

“Whether it’s getting involved in university clubs, going on exchange, or doing an internship, just do it. You’ll meet amazing people and gain extremely valuable life skills that will benefit you no matter what career path you take.”

Updated:  1 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing